“Yes, $15 an Hour”

On Aug. 29, across the country, thousands of workers in low-paying jobs stood up to demand $15 an hour. Most were at fast-food restaurants. There are many people who support the need for these workers to be paid more.

via Yes, $15 an Hour.

So who gains?

Not the minimum-wage workers, who are likely to see their hours reduced (or their jobs eliminated) even as the price of goods soars.

…Still, understanding that the price of the hamburger was probably much more affected by giving the CEO a $9 million raise than the meager demands of the people serving them their food…

The reason the CEO earns so much is because the people who hire these guys believe that the money is worth it (e.g. will pay for itself via increased profits). This is how capitalism works: it’s called “what the market will bear”.

You can’t force the markets to give people more than they’re worth. Not unless they’re part of a union.

Union contracts are typically tied to minimum wages, so that if the McWorker gets a raise, so does the factory worker who is already earning a very generous salary.

The rest of us just get inflation.

I’m very sympathetic to the problem, but there are good solutions and bad solutions. Simply passing a law commanding the problem to not exist anymore is not a good solution. It has been tried and tried and tried and tried and it never works. This is where unintended consequences come from – which, in turn, creates more superficial non-fixes-that-are-presented-as-fixes, which in turn means there are more unintended consequences, which is what’s called a feedback loop – aka a death spiral – which seems to be exactly what we’re in the middle of right now already.

We need more information. Forget the scapegoating; put aside “those evil guys have too much whatever” as an answer, and ask ourselves, “why are so many young people having a hard time finding the sort of work that can sustain a family?” Ask the question honestly and gather the information. Do we need more jobs? Better jobs? Why is that not feasible? It’s not a simple thing – and there’s not a simple solution.

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